Saturday, January 26, 2019

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Its done. In the record-books. Finished (at least for us, for SIR Elton John he has just a few more shows on this, his LAST tour... and then hangs up his funky glasses for good).

So...last night at the Los Angeles Staples Center we saw his Farewell Yellow Brick Road - Goodbye-  tour. Jeannie had bought us tickets a YEAR (literally) ago the moment they were on sale. And they were FANTASTIC tickets it turns out!

Along with the amazing tickets, she very smartly booked us into the Los Angeles JW Marriott for the night, which is actually looking at the Staples Center! We had a corner room on the 16th floor, and here was the view out our room window:

Here's Jeannie before the show as we were waiting in line for her to buy a hat (for her to wear on vacation at "the lake", the only time she wears a hat). This was the logo of this final tour.

 I considered buying a tour T-shirt, but I think I'm out of that NEED A SHIRT from every concert I go to phase (tho I haven't been to a concert in like 25 years or more now). The T shirts were $45 to $50 each, and I have a ton of T shirts that I already don't wear. But I stood in line for moral support. As soon as we got her the hat we headed for our seats.

 The show was slated to start at 8pm, but no concert in the history of concerts has ever started on time (as far as I know)...but EJ was pretty quarter past 8 he was walking out on stage...alone. His first song: Bennie and the Jets! The rest of the band soon joined in as he started hammering away on the keys as only he can do. And I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised at how good his voice still is. I was honestly expecting something less than his A game, as he is getting up there in age (I was told he's 71 now!). But its apparent that EJ knows its best to go out on top, and that he is.

Our seats were in Row 7 on the right side of the stage. However, when we sat down (only SEVEN ROWS FROM THE STAGE!) we noticed that his grand piano was sitting sideways, facing us! OMG! He was so close that I could hit him with a rock (if I were inclined to spend the next year in jail). These are the best seats Ive ever had AT ANY SHOW, and I cant think of a better show to have them!

Our view of the stage before the show.

As to my general thoughts on the show, here it is in a single short and sweet thought:

I can die now. 

Not that I want to or anything, but of all the concerts Ive been to in my life, this one was the top of the heap, the creme de la creme. The ONE that wont be topped. I hadn't really expected that, but very soon in the sold out final LA show (he played 4 nights here) it became quite obvious.

Here are a few shots (OK, a BUNCH of shots) I took with my lame phone (and consider that my lame camera on my lame tracfone makes things look further away than they actually are).

 The show begins. This is the band and the super-monitor (there was a camera on the end of his piano giving the super-close-up view of EJ).

Here's the entire steup. Our seats were to die-for! I was stunned the entire show by how great our view was! Way to go JEANNIE!!!! (she is a planner-extraordinaire...planning is her superpower...eating and not gaining weight is mine).

I will try not to bore you too much, but I did take 115 pictures, hoping that a FEW came out clear. Here are a few of my plethora of shots:

 Here's a view of the crowd on the floor, and some of the stands.

 Here he's walking around the stage after a song, waving at all the fans.

 Here's a really clear shot of the view on the GIANT SCREEN above the band.

 Here you can see the entire setup...his piano, the band and the super-screen.

 Here his electric guitarist (can't remember his name) is at our side of the stage riling up the crowd.

 Here his piano is on the move to our side, and the song is "Goodby Norma Jean" (video and pictures of Marilyn Monroe were playing on the screen during the entire song).

 Here you can see HOW CLOSE he is to us at his piano-turnaround point. Just 7 rows away...WOW!!!

 Another shot of the entire affair, taken by an unknown video camera.

 Here I took a vertical shot showing (thru the lights) the nose-bleed seats WAY UP THERE...
you can barely see that there are people actually sitting up there! Our seats were the BEST!!!

 Nearing the end, they dropped a ton of confetti on the standing crowd.

 The end of the 'normal' show...the entire band bowing to the audience.

 And the encore...he played only two songs: "This songs for you" that he dedicated to all of us fans, and of course, the LAST song, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".

 After his last song he got on a conveyor thing and rode it up to the screen where a door opened.

 Here he's going thru the door, waving goodbye.

 And here is an animated bit as hes stepping onto and then walking away on the yellow brick road (wearing the same outfit he had on for the last 2 songs).

 Walking away.....

walking away...and finally disappearing in the distance.

 Right after that the lights came on and the roadies got ON IT. Game over, goodbye Elton John!

I'm still in awe of the show, and SO glad that Jeannie and I were able to see it! There's just no way anybody will top that...he played his Greatest Hits selected from over 50 years of Greatest Hits! He had a LOT to choose from, and you can probably name your favorite songs and he played pretty much all of them.

WOW. That's it...just WOW. And thank you to Elton John for a lifetime of awesome music! It was truly a privilege to see you play! I'll never forget it!

And lastly, Goodby.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

The title says it all. Away we go into another year. 2018 was a difficult year for us...I lost my stepmother (April 2nd), my Mom (June 2nd), and just lost my stepdad (Dec 23rd). It was a rather tough year on parents in our family. And my dad, while healthy, has the short term memory of a goldfish (dementia). Just saw him over the Christmas break, and WOW. How quickly the dementia has taken hold and really blocking pretty much ANY memory of recent events. And then he sees things on TV or hears things and then somehow creates a memory that involves him (he's had lunch w/ the President, got tons of money in the bank, stuff like that). It's very difficult for my brothers and I for sure. AND he's in an assisted living facility over 400 miles from me (probably ONLY about 22 mi for my big brother). So it's not like we can just zip on over if things get out of control.

But hey, enough on that. It IS the start of a New Year, and I'm hoping it's going to be a good one. I'm hoping my 401k comes back out of the gutter like many of you, and that Jeannie's Federal Worker furlough doesn't last too long. She's all upset about being furlough'd again...and I'm like "why can't I ever get furlough'd? It's a paid vacation for crying out loud!" (they do typically get paid for it eventually, so why worry about it? Too much work to do she says...and I say "it will still be sitting there when you go back, so why be upset about it?" I'd KILL for a furlough! (well, probably not REALLY...probably). And she is also pretty steamed at the pay cap you know who just signed for all Federal Workers for 2019...just another brick in the wall.

Oh is what it is....I always say "if it's beyond your control, then it's wasted energy to worry about it".

So anyway, the New Year is upon us, and I have ONE LAST picture to post from this year (just took it on the night of the 30th...not sure how it happened, but Sophie AND Abbey were sitting on the couch and NOT running away! AMAZING!!

As of Jan 1st the Christmas lights will stay off and I will take everything down the following weekend most likely, and put them away in the attic for another year. This time of year (Post Holidays) always makes us sad....we both love the decorating and the lights and the entire atmosphere of the Holidays. There's just something about it (not to mention the extended vacation that I get every year, with the entire break between Xmas and New Years off! But I pay for that by NOT getting any of the minor holidays off, I only get Memorial day, the 4th, Labor day, T-day, and then the Holiday break). I think it's a good trade tho.

So I will now sign off on this final post of the year. Be safe, be happy, and enjoy every day as you never know what tomorrow will bring.

I figure there's no better wish for my friends and family to end the year with than the lyrics from Lee Ann Womack's song I hope you dance.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance 
I hope you dance
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
Don't let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance 
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder?)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)
Dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder?)
Dance (Where those years have gone?)
Wishing a blessed and VERY Happy New Year to the Asylum! 
Get out there and DANCE!